Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cinderella Nation

"I have to believe I got some kind of say over our lives. When things are bad we can do something about it, make things better for our family."

- James Braddock, as played by Russell Crowe, "Cinderella Man"


I do not believe a country that decides what's best for its people. I believe that people decides what's best for its country.

Like a looming shadow, we, the citizens of Singapore, have seen our lives become increasingly complicated, increasingly expensive, increasingly insecure. We have seen men we trusted tap on our trust, in exchange for gold. We have seen the waking of the giants of the Orient, and the waves that have come crashing down on this little midget of an island.

But we are still alive. While we are alive, we can still make history.

During the Great Depression, an over-the-hill boxer, Jim Braddock, boxed with a shattered right hand. Against all odds, he won a grueling 15 round match to become the heavyweight champion of the world. He did not fight for glory, fame or riches.

He fought to buy milk for his kids.

People call the Singapore blogosphere infantile. I don't. I scan Singapore blogs and I see Jim Braddocks. The everyman, beating back demons in their lives with quiet dignity and compassion. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult life must be for some of these bloggers. Yet, these men and women still have smiles, and share them freely. They share their stories because they have a story to tell.

These stories are often fairy tales. True, people often get killed in fairy tales, but so do dragons.

The story of Singapore is a fairy tale, but the men and women responsible are often forgot. Not the statesmen, the politicians, the wealthy. The everyman that carried the bricks, laid the mortar, clawed at the earth in search of a better life for their families. These everymen remind me that no politician, statesman or leader, no evil looming shadow, no twisted complication can grant us that which we already have, nor take away that which they cannot - our dignity, our compassion, our love for family, and our willingness to bear any hardship for their sake.

Happy National Day, Singaporeans.

5 comments:

A.Ball.of.Yarn said...

a wonderfully heart-warming post. :)

Mythical said...

*grin* you forgot, he was nicknamed "Gentleman" Jim Braddock, which really is the icing on the cake. He was a hero who not only brought home the bacon (or the milk) but did it in a gentlemanly way. And yes, I appreciated esp the part about fairy tales; been a bit scorched by certain dragons too. But we still survive. Hope you doing well over there. D has a cousin at UCB - Adrian Lee is a dark matter expert (http://www.esi-topics.com/fmf/2003/november03-AdrianTLee.html) and his dad was a Nobel nominee at Columbia.

Anthony said...

Ball of yarn,

Thank you.

Darthe Sidhe,

I am doing very well. School starts again in a week and my wife is arriving tonight. I have a good idea what I want to do for my thesis (how Intellectual Property Rights distort market competition for the purposes of the USFFTA).

Before I forget - what EXACTLY are you doing in Poland? Are you even still there?

One Little Twit said...

Thank you for letting me see the Jill Braddock in me :)

Mythical said...

hi! this is interesting; for my research i just read a doctoral thesis (ref below). this guy's thesis is about how the PAP uses globalism benchmarks to give themselves bona fides and then laughs at the world (e.g. WIPOS, TIMSS and so on). Poland is for fun. was actually in Andorra for 2 weeks. [Koh, Aaron (2002). Tactical Globalisation: The Singapore State, Education Polic(y)ing & Identity (Re) Making. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Queensland, Australia.]